Farmers and ranchers find things when they’re out on the land. Strange objects, odd rocks and historical artifacts have all been known to turn up.
Those who have made such finds in southwestern Alberta can have them examined and perhaps explained by experts during an event planned March 24-25 at the Frank Slide Interpretive Centre in the Crowsnest Pass.
It’s called Stones and Bones and is held every other year in different locations around the province.
Rachel Lindemann, president of the Archeological Society of Alberta, Lethbridge Centre, said some interesting things have turned up at past events.
She was once presented with a human skull in a box, for instance, and on another memorable occasion was shown a collection of old and intact native pottery.
“Basically it’s a way for us to reach out to the community and to the public,” she said.
“We know that there’s a lot of private collections, or privately held collections of artifacts, things that people have picked up in their field or when they’re out hiking.
“This is a way for them to bring them in and have them looked at, to tell what time period it’s from or if we know anything else of interest about it.”
Lindemann said collectors sometimes worry about keeping items in the collections, and the event is about seeing what is out there rather than confiscating collections or artifacts.
“If you come with it, you’ll leave with it,” she said.
“It just helps us understand what’s been found in these areas. We might want pictures of what they’ve got … but this is a way for us to help create awareness about archeology in their area and all of southern Alberta and how diverse and rich the areas all are. We just want to know what’s out there, basically.”
The society hopes to also have a paleontologist and a geologist at the event. In the past, the event has attracted people with dinosaur bones in their collections.
As for geology, “everyone’s got a weird rock they want looked at,” said Lindemann.
The Crowsnest Pass event might reveal some interesting artifacts from early mining days, an industry for which the area is known.
“Anything pre-1950s is considered archeology, so it can be quite recent.”
For more information, contact Lindemann at firstname.lastname@example.org.